There are a gazillion ways to promote your company through marketing campaigns. And like the modern US Presidential elections or the Cola Wars, these campaigns generally fall into two categories: positive and negative.
The instinct to compare and contrast is great, and it’s not necessarily the wrong way to go. People need to know the differences between two companies offering similar services. An entire industry has grown around the need to research and review difference businesses and products (Angie’s List, Consumer Reports, Yelp, Carmax, etc), which is great. Near instant access to information is certainly a perk. Unfortunately, some companies pollute their brand by marketing themselves through talking smack about their competition.
People want to make up their own minds about what they want to purchase, who they want to hire, and with whom they want to do business. Coke never mentions Pepsi. And if it’s been Pepsi strategy to come out on top through comparison advertising, it’s definitely not working. Brand recognition is great, but not if it both promotes your competition AND comes at the cost of people thinking you’re a jerk, or worse, unethical.
So, while it’s important to make people aware of your business, and what products and services your offer, it’s equally as important to make sure you’re not firmly planting yourself behind your competition by screaming about how awful they are. Instead, I’ve found that people are a lot more receptive when the conversation is about what Ripple can do for them, not what others can’t do.
There are times when we’re simply not the right fit. That’s fine. People will remember that we were upfront and honest. And when their buddy asks them about IT options, they’ll likely mention us no matter what the final decision was. That’s the kind of positive brand recognition that no amount of smack talking will ever overcome.